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Holiday Shopping Help with Consumer Reports

Sean's picture

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With the holidays around the corner, we’re all getting busy with shopping for gifts for our loved ones. Here at the Fox River Valley Public Libraries, we like to help our patrons in any way we can and we can help with holiday shopping. No, I’m not saying that we’ll buy your gifts, but we do have resources that can help make your holiday shopping easier.

Consumer Reports is the premier resource for ratings, reviews, recommendations, and buying advice for thousands of products and services. In addition to the physical magazines and buying guides, we also provide full access to the online version of Consumer Reports. Patrons can use the online version in the library and can also use it from home with a valid FRVPLD library card. Simply go to the research page on our website, scroll through the list of databases until you get to the ones that start with “C” (they’re in alphabetical order) and then click on “Consumer Reports.” At this point, if you are doing this from home you will be prompted for your library card number. Then you’ll get to a screen with a list of four different databases. Just click on “” and you’ll be good to go!


FRVPLD database list


There is a TON of information available on the Consumer Reports website. I’m going to discuss a couple parts of the website that I think would be most useful. First, I want to point out the 2016 Holiday Gift Guide. It’s right in the middle of the home page. It has lists of recommended products covering a variety of categories to help make holiday shopping easier. It also has articles with tips and strategies to help with other aspects of the holidays, such as preparing your home to host holiday gatherings, cooking for holiday gatherings, saving money during holiday shopping, and being healthier during the holidays. It is nicely organized which makes it very easy to use.


Consumer Reports home page


The other part I want to discuss is the Product Reviews section (the first menu option on the top left corner of the screen). When you move your mouse to this button, a menu will drop down with product categories. As an example, I’m going to click on “TVs.”


Consumer Reports product reviews menu


The first page you’ll see is an overview page about TVs. From here you can get a wide range of information.


Consumer Reports TV product overview


“Ratings & Reliability” will take to you to a page with an extensive, detailed list of all different kinds of TVs with ratings in a variety of categories. You can also look at special features for each TV and a comparison of top brands on this page.


Consumer Reports TV product ratings


The “Recommended” page takes all of the details from the “Ratings & Reliability” page and presents a more simplified list of the most recommended TVs. On both the “Ratings & Reliability” page and “Recommended” page, there are links to compare prices and shop, as well as links to compare different products side-by-side. 


Consumer Reports TV recommendations


Finally, the “Buying Guide” page essentially helps users understand the types of things that Consumer Reports looks at for their ratings, as well as the different specifications and special features that are discussed, so they are better informed when deciding what to buy.


Consumer Reports TV buying guide


Hopefully you will find resources like Consumer Reports helpful for you during the holiday season, or any time of year for that matter. Have questions, want more information, or want help using Consumer Reports? Please stop by the Information Desk, call 847-428-3661, option 3, or send an email at and we’d be happy to help you!

Happy Holidays!